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XLR to RCA Cable 5 months 2 weeks ago #48282

  • miket
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Some companies (e.g. Benchmark, Okto Research) recommend using a cable with pin 3 floating when using an XLR to RCA cable - this is because shorting XLR pin 3 to ground (which is what most XLR to RCA cables do) can cause the output stage to overload and distort. Benchmark make their own cables to do this but it's easy to do a DIY modification to an existing cable.

What's the position with SHD analog outputs? Is it OK to use a conventional XLR to RCA cable with pin 3 shorted - or is it better to use the Benchmark approach with pin 3 floating?
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XLR to RCA Cable 5 months 1 week ago #48474

  • Mike-48
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I think the adapters with pin 3 shorted are OK for balanced inputs. It would be quite unusual for an input to be stressed by being shorted to ground.

I would not short the output of any device to ground, under any circumstances I can think of. That's the general rule. I don't know if the SHD for some odd reason might be the exception.

While adapters work, for best results I'd recommend using a converter incorporating a studio-grade transformer. However, they are costly, over USD 300 the last time I looked, and the improvement might be slight and not worth it to you.
Last Edit: 5 months 1 week ago by Mike-48. Reason: Fix errors
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XLR to RCA Cable 5 months 1 week ago #48479

  • dreite
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The miniDSP outputs have a 560 ohm output resistor on each leg, so if you use a typical cable with pin 3 shorted, it's not a direct short and you won't damage anything.

The problem with performing surgery on those cables and removing the pin 3 short is that you can lose channel-to-channel accuracy. This depends quite a bit on the equipment manufacturer and how the output topology is implemented. In the case of the SHD, I don't notice much difference between the voltage on +/- polarities.

However, the SHD already has unbalanced RCA outputs, so I'm confused on why this would be an issue.

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